There are three big-name web companies ready to bite at the ankle of monopolist Google in the impending antitrust case at Capitol Hill.
Nextag, Yelp and Expedia all argue that Google is deliberately bumping them from search results to promote its own equivalent, which is remarkably similar to what they originally offered. The antitrust hearing will start today, and is related to search about travel and local business. The prosecution says Google is hoarding all the information and hosting it on its own Places service.
Nextag, reports the Wall Street Journal, claims Google is blocking it from bidding on the best ads. Nextag thinks it has been identified as competition, and in turn Google only lets it bid on ads that get less clicks. Google, of course, denies the allegations.
Google said in a statement that it is “looking forward” to the hearing, presumably because the toothless law men of the world usually find it guilty but unable to exert pressure on the giant. With the FTC, though, Google is playing with fire.
In the meantime, critics suggest it hopes its army of lobbyists will have wined and dined Google’s way out of a guilty verdict or a sharp ruling.